House of Representatives stalemate still holding back choice of new speaker

The US Capitol in Washington (Scott Applewhite/AP)

The US House of Representatives has opened with the prime speaker’s chair empty for a third day, as Republican leader Kevin McCarthy failed repeatedly to win enough votes from his party to become House speaker.

Mr McCarthy emerged from a morning meeting with colleagues at the Capitol determined to persuade Republican holdouts to end the stalemate that has blighted his new Republican majority.

But despite endless talks, signs of concessions and a public spectacle unlike any other in recent political memory, the path ahead remained highly uncertain.

The day started as the other two have, with Republican allies nominating him to be speaker.

But party holdouts again put forward the name of fellow Republican Byron Donalds of Florida, assuring the stalemate would continue.

Republican John James of Michigan put Mr McCarthy’s name up for a vote, with a nod to history.

“My family’s gone from being slaves to the floor of the United States House of Representatives” in five generations, said Mr James, a newly elected legislator to be, who is black.

He said that while the House Republicans were “stuck” at the moment, Mr McCarthy, who has failed to seize a majority to become speaker, would ultimately win.

“We will not be able to fight until we find a way to come together,” he said.

Democratic Representative Pete Aguilar of California renominated Hakeem Jeffries of New York.

What started as a political novelty, the first time in 100 years a nominee had not won the gavel on the first vote, has devolved into a bitter Republican Party feud and deepening potential crisis.

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